Soldiers With Blast-related Concussions May Develop ‘Brain Scars’

The largest study of brain images from active duty military members has revealed that blast-related concussions could lead to ‘brain scarring’. Dr. Gerard Riedy of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center conducted the study, published in Radiology, of 834 servicemembers who suffered blast-related MTBI – mild traumatic brain injury.

Of the 834 soldiers, 84 percent of them were involved in one or more blast-related incidents and 63 percent had lost consciousness at the time of their injury. In 52 percent of the MTBI patients, MRI scans showed that their brains had signs of white matter T2 hyperintensities. The medical community commonly refers to these hyperintensities as ‘brain scars’ and this is the first time medical professionals have made a physically visible connection between brain scars and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Along with brain scars, approximately one-third of the MTBI patients also showed pituitary abnormalities. This finding further connects blast-related injury to decline in pituitary function, as evidenced in a previous study.

Doctors are now looking to use the presence and severity of brain scars as a diagnostic tool for identifying PTSD and quantifying the severity of the PTSD damage. PTSD has been historically difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to rate from mild to severe without a scale to measure the damage.

PTSD is One of the Most Common Veteran Disabilities

PTSD is one of the most prevalent types of injuries today’s veterans suffer from, yet it is also one of the most overlooked and misunderstood. If you suffer from severe PTSD, you may qualify for veterans disability benefits. Call Veterans Help Group at 855-855-8992 or contact us online to schedule a consultation regarding your right to veterans’ disability benefits.